Black Republicans: They're Back!

There hasn't been a black Republican in the House of Representatives since 2003, which is weird, since Republican politicians and voters are notoriously friendly to the African-American community. But fear not, GOP: Thirty-five black Republicans are now running for Congress!

Someone at the RNC must have noticed this, because The New York Times' Jennifer Steinhauer is now profiling the poor souls caught between an undying belief in limited federal government and an electorate prone to carrying placards decorated with racial epithets. They might be black, but they're tea baggers, just like you!

Many of the candidates are trying to align themselves with the Tea Partiers, insisting that the racial dynamics of that movement have been overblown. Videos taken at some Tea Party rallies show some participants holding up signs with racially inflammatory language...

The black candidates interviewed overwhelmingly called the racist narrative a news media fiction. "I have been to these rallies, and there are hot dogs and banjos," said Mr. West, the candidate in Florida, a retired lieutenant colonel in the Army who served in Afghanistan. "There is no violence or racism there."

Nope, just banjos, hot dogs, and every once in a while, calling John Lewis the n-word! What do they believe in, these black Republicans?

In many ways, this subset of Republicans is latching on to the basic themes propelling most of their party's campaigns this year - the call for smaller government, less spending and stronger national security - rather than building platforms around social conservatism.

It is not really surprising that there are black conservatives. Anyone can be conservative! But it is surprising that there are black Republicans, given that the Republican party has admittedly spent the last four decades pandering to the bigoted impulses of racists in a desperate attempt to shore up votes. But now that Michael Steele is in charge of the GOP, that's all changed, right? Let's ask Timothy F. Johnson of the conservative Frederick Douglass Foundation:

He added that the candidates might be helped by the presence of Michael Steele, the chairman of the Republican National Committee who is black and ran for the Senate himself in 2006.

That's right—they might be helped! Meanwhile, none of the black Republicans in the article who are actually running for anything can be quoted saying anything positive about the first black chairman of the Republican party. But that's because he sucks, right? Definitely not because of his strained relationship with party power brokers predicated on his weird honesty about the GOP's utter failure on race.